Always interesting to see someone leave the mountain bike scene, then come back. I'd expect him to place pretty well considering he was pretty good as a junior and won some championships. Did Specialized already sponsor him prior to this for his road races? Did they just start sponsoring him for MTB?
He still has a promising career ahead and has proven his talent over the bike in several tours and junior championships. Great news He returns to his roots, and I bet he will perform neatly. Although I don't think he will come out of the whole thing unscathed.
I'm not sure that this is a sport where any rider expects to come out unscathed, but I understand what you mean.
Time moves on, and while he's certainly still got the ability, other riders are a lot more competitive and skilled aswell so all in all, it should lead to even more thrills for the viewers to watch, and that's what the sport needs to grow.